Monday, October 03, 2005

Lady Snowblood

The first volume of Lady Snowblood was released from Dark Horse this past week, entitled "The Deep-Seated Grudge." This series is by Kazuo Koike (writer of Lone Wolf and Cub, as well as Samurai Executioner), with art by Kazuo Kamimura. As some of you may be aware, Lady Snowblood served as quite the influence on Quentin Tarantino for Kill Bill (aka my favorite film ever). I was actually surprised by how much Tarantino borrowed from the story, as Snowblood's life is one of vengeance she intends to carry out upon the four murderers of her family (her mother actually killed one of the murderers, and has left her daughter to carry on her vendetta). Lady Snowblood is an assassin-for-hire whose ultimate goal is to finance the destruction of her targets. There's blood and flashing swords aplenty, as well as several nude scenes. Snowblood takes out guards in a Crazy-88-style battle and implicates her targets in scandals to force them to adhere to her (or rather, her funders') terms. Underneath all of this is a complex commentary on women in Japanese culture and historical references that the author spins to be direct results of Lady Snowblood's behavior. Jog wrote a really great essay about this you should definitely check out. It's kind of strange that Kill Bill, which took so much from this comic is now the inspiration behind the marketing of this book, but that's the way things play out, I suppose. The final chapter, "Rokumeikan Murder Panorama" is my favorite, and ends the book on a high note. The book really seems to just get better and better as it moves along. If you like your comics fun and bloody and violent as...well, a samurai epic, this is a must-read.

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